Interactive map: Where Texas home values are rising and falling
Digital Editor-Austin Business Journal
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Texas is booming, drawing people from all over the world in seek of economic opportunities. But as Texas' economy grows, so do home values. It's a story familiar to anyone who has spent time in Texas' major cities. In some places, such as Austin, the home values are growing so fast that some national analysts are beginning to wonder if those values are sustainable.
So what would Texas' home values look like from space? Using new data released earlier this month from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Austin Business Journal compiled a map showing how median home value estimates in Texas from the Census' American Community Survey 5-Year-Estimates have changed since 2010. The map, embedded below, colors Texas' 5,000-plus Census tracts from blue to red to signify the percentage change in median home value estimates. A blue-shaded tract is one where median home value estimates have fallen. A red-shaded tract is one where median home value estimates have risen. Be sure to click within the tracts to explore its statistics. Viewing this on our mobile page? View the full map by clicking the "view full site" link at the bottom of the page.
On average across Texas, median home value estimates have risen 5 percent in the four years from 2010 through 2013. The tract with the fastest growth is Census Tract 3616.02 in Harris County, Texas, just south of downtown Houston. There, median home value estimates have grown by more than 427 percent since 2010, rising from a median of $19,100 in 20109 to $100,600 in 2013.
According to Toni Nelson, director of strategic initiatives for Houston-based Better Home and Gardens Gary Greene Realty, one of the biggest realtors in Houston, the growth estimated median home values in this area is driven by home building activity and rehabilitation of existing housing stock for resale by production builders.
"This particular area, until recently, was not one of the finest parts of town, you could say," said Nelson in an interview. "It's not like a master-planned community. They've taken these old, lower-income homes and torn them down and…it's become a mecca of affordability."
On the other end of the scale is Census Tract 99 in Dallas, where home values estimates have reportedly fallen by 89 percent since 2010, from $107,000 to $12,000 in 2013. But this particular outlier is suspect, according to Bill Head, director of communications for Dallas MetroTex Association of Realtors. He notes that the tract is largely industrial, and is unaware of any major residential areas there.
Head's comments underscore a fact that, sometimes, ACS tract-level results can have some weird things going on, especially when you get to either end of the bell curve. This oddity could be chalked up to sampling errors, or unseen or low-key owner-occupied housing in the area.
If you want a takeaway from the data overall, it would be this: Home values grow slower in an area when more housing supply is added. Statewide, Texas Census tracts estimates for housing unit growth increased by an average of 2.3 percent. But the 25 percent of Census tracts that grew the slowest saw above-average housing unit growth at 2.5 percent. The 25 percent of Census tracts where median home values grew the fastest expanded their housing unit stock much slower than average at only 1.7 percent.
Michael Theis is the Austin Business Journal's digital editor.